AZTEC, NM (July 3, 2003) - Darren Stewart moved back atop the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers point charts by beating Gary Wright to the checkered flag by less...
AZTEC, NM (July 3, 2003) - Darren Stewart moved back atop the O'Reilly American Sprint Car Series National Tour presented by Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and United Trailers point charts by beating Gary Wright to the checkered flag by less than a car length to win Thursday night's 25-lap feature at Aztec Speedway.
Jason Martin and Stewart led the feature field to the green flag, but it was third-starter Zach Chappell who led the opening round. Martin raced into the lead on the second circuit and paced the field over the ensuing laps, with Stewart slipping around Chappell for second on the fifth lap.
Bidding for his first ASCS National triumph, Martin slipped over the cushion on the 15th lap, allowing Stewart to take command. Martin jumped the cushion once again on the 24th round, with Wright and Travis Rilat racing past.
Wright made a last lap challenge for the lead in an effort to extend his winning streak to four races in a row, but Stewart slid high through the final two corners to fend off the challenge and beat Wright to the line by little more than a half car-length. Stewart's third series triumph of the season aboard the Ostrich-powered Sparks Construction machine gave him a slim six point lead over Rilat, who finished a close third.
Martin settled for a strong fourth, with Chappell rounding out the top five. Cody Branchcomb, who battled among the top five for much of the race, crossed the stripe sixth in front of Toby Brown and Rickey Hood. After spinning and requiring a second push to start the main event, ASCS Rocky Mountain Region point leader Randi Miller charged from the rear of the field to claim ninth, with Nick Haygood completing the top ten.
Martin, Wright and Rilat claimed heat race victories.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. Darren Stewart, 2. Gary Wright, 3. Travis Rilat, 4. Jason Martin, 5. Zach Chappell, 6. Cody Branchcomb, 7. Toby Brown, 8. Rickey Hood, 9. Randi Miller, 10. Nick Haygood, 11. Bud Goodwin, 12. Eric Miller, 13. Mike Dreiling, 14. T.J. Thorne, 15. Geoff Dodge, 16. Steve Cushman, 17. Jason Grady, 18. Jace Pennetta, 19. Josh Grady, 20. John Stroud, 21. Jake Pierson, 22. Scott Milan, 23. Jesse Baker.
Heat Winners: Jason Martin, Gary Wright, Travis Rilat.
O'Reilly ASCS Points (Top Ten): 1. Darren Stewart 3,068, 2. Travis Rilat 3,062, 3. Zach Chappell 3,044, 4. Gary Wright 3,016, 5. Cody Branchcomb 2,850, 6. Toby Brown 2,746, 7. Shane Stewart 1,948, 8. Rick Behr 1,709, 9. Matt Clevenger 1,642, 10. Kevin Ramey 1,358.
ASCS Rocky Mountain Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Randi Miller 1,572, 2. Mike Dreiling 1,488, 3. Eric Miller 1,465, 4. Jace Pennetta 1,396, 5. Jake Pierson 1,203, 6. Geoff Dodge 1,123, 7. Mason Hill 1,036, 8. Scott Milan 882, 9. T.J. Thorne 870, 10. Nick Haygood 694.